This pilau dish is Hari Ghotra's personal take on the traditional Kashmiri ‘gucchi pilau’.
300g white basmati rice
¼ tsp saffron strands
1 tsp screw pine water (or 1 tbsp rosewater, or jasmine flower water)
150g fresh morel mushrooms
½ onion, sliced
3cm Arqa ginger, sliced into thin strands
4 Arqa black cardamoms, lightly crushed
6 Arqa green cardamoms, lightly crushed
10cm piece Arqa cassia bark, broken
6 Arqa cloves
3 Arqa dried bay leaves
1 tsp Arqa salt
¾ ltr cold water
1 tsp Arqa garam masala
fresh coriander leaves, chopped
All ingredients are available at Foodhall stores
- Wash the rice in several changes of cold water until the water runs clear and set to one side.
- Soak the saffron strands 1 tsp flower essence or 1 tbsp flower water, as available and leave for later. Rinse the mushrooms and cut them in half length ways.
- Heat the ghee in a wide heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the whole spices with the bay leaves. Stir for a few minutes until you can smell the fragrance from the spices.
- Stir in the sliced onions and cook for about 5 minutes before adding the ginger. Next add the prepared mushrooms and almonds, and sauté for a couple of minutes until the nuts begin to brown.
- Add the washed rice to the mushroom mixture and sauté for a few minutes until the grains of rice become shiny.
- Pour in the saffron mixture and salt. Add the cold water and bring the rice to the boil. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover with a lid. Let the rice cook undisturbed for 15 minutes.
- Check to see whether the rice is cooked by pressing a couple of grains between your fingers. Remove from heat and set aside. Sprinkle the rice with garam masala and coriander leaves just before serving.